Kamala Harris lands her seventh role: promoting child tax credit

Vice President Kamala Harris landed a seventh job on Monday with the White House dispatching her to Pennsylvania to sell President Joe Biden‘s Child Tax Credit.

It’s part of the administration’s push to mark what they are calling Child Tax Credit Awareness Day to highlight a component of Biden’s American Rescue Plan. The president himself has no public events on his schedule but the White House did post a video to its social media accounts of Biden talking about the tax credit. 

Harris will take the lead on selling it, giving remarks on the Child Tax Credit in Pittsburgh, which sits in the important presidential election state of Pennsylvania, and then hosting a roundtable with union leaders and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. 

The American Rescue Plan increased the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children over the age of six and from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under the age of six, and raised the age limit from 16 to 17. Payments start July 15.

It’s the latest item added to Harris’ busy plate as she continues to face pressure from Republicans to visit the border. 

In early June, the vice president received her fifth and sixth jobs, as the president asked her to go on a vaccine education tour and handle the administration’s efforts to protect voting rights.   

These tasks were assigned before her first trip abroad – to Guatemala and Mexico – as part of the most controversial part of her portfolio: dealing with the ‘root’ causes of migration from the Northern Triangle, which is primarily responsible for the current border crush. 

Vice President Kamala Harris heads for Air Force Two in route to Pittsburgh to promote President Biden's Child Tax Credit

Vice President Kamala Harris heads for Air Force Two in route to Pittsburgh to promote President Biden’s Child Tax Credit

Vice President Harris has said she will visit the border but no date as been publicly announced

Vice President Harris has said she will visit the border but no date as been publicly announced

Republicans have slammed Harris repeatedly for agen bola not visiting the US-Mexico border during that trip even as the White House argued that was not her direct responsibility.

‘It reminds me of that old show, ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?’ She’ll go everywhere except the border because she’s afraid of what’s going on down there, and they have no solutions,’ Republican Senator Ted Cruz told ‘Fox & Friends’ last week. 

Harris has pledged to visit but no date has been announced. 

Rounding out Harris’ workload are the issues of broadband and space, while she’s also leading a pro-union taskforce that would take a ‘whole-of-government approach to empower workers.’  

THE BORDER 

In late March, Biden announced he had tapped Harris to lead the effort to stem migration coming from the Northern Triangle countries – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – and up through Mexico. 

Harris, he said, ‘agreed to lead our diplomatic effort to work with those nations.’ 

Very quickly Harris became a target for Republicans as border crossings soared and she didn’t travel to the border to see the conditions on the ground.    

In mid-April, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the ‘confusion’ surrounding Harris’ role with the migrant crisis is ‘perplexing,’ arguing immigration policy has never been a ‘one-woman’ job. 

Psaki also pointed out that Biden, as vice president, had essentially played the same role during the Obama years.  

Harris traveled to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month but down played any expectations on outcomes: ‘The issue of root causes is not going to be solved in two days,’ she said. 

She also sparked controversy on the first day of the trip when, questioned by NBC’s Lester Holt on why she hadn’t visited the border, she replied: ‘And I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.’

The next day she committed to making such a visit but a date has not been publicly set.  

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris attend a bilateral meeting at the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City on June 8

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris attend a bilateral meeting at the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City on June 8

VOTING RIGHTS     

Just six days out from her first international trip as vice president, Biden announced he giving Harris another responsibility: voting issues.       

‘I’m asking Vice President Harris to help these efforts and lead them, among her many other responsibilities,’ Biden said during his speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma, marking the 100th anniversary of the city’s race massacre. 

‘With her leadership, and your support, we’re going to overcome again, I promise you. But it’s going to take a hell of a lot of work,’ Biden added. 

Last week, Harris met with 16 fellow Democrats from the Texas state legislature who successfully blocked a bill they said would make it harder for Blacks and Hispanics to vote. 

‘What we are seeing are examples of an attempt to interfere with that right, an attempt to marginalize and take from people, a right that has already been given,’ Harris said. 

Additionally, as part of her work, she’s working with Congress on passing nation-wide voting rights legislation. 

That means Harris will be back at her old stomping grounds – the U.S. Senate –  as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has already pledged to give the House-passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a vote. 

The Senate is expected to begin debate on the matter this week.  

Vice President Kamala Harris hosts members of Texas State Senate and Texas House of Representatives, who in May blocked passage of legislation that would have made it significantly harder for the people of Texas to vote

Vice President Kamala Harris hosts members of Texas State Senate and Texas House of Representatives, who in May blocked passage of legislation that would have made it significantly harder for the people of Texas to vote

VACCINE TOUR 

Earlier this month the White House announced Harris would be leading a vaccine tour as the administration aims to have one shot in the arms of 70 per cent of U.S. adults by the Fourth of July holiday.  

Harris will ‘lead a nation-wide tour to reach millions of Americans who still need protection against the virus, to highlight the ease of getting vaccinated, encourage vaccinations, and energize and mobilize grassroots vaccine education,’ the White House said. 

The president was more specific about where Harris would travel and said she would be joined by additional surrogates.  

‘The vice president’s going to lead that tour across the south and the midwest,’ Biden said in remarks Wednesday afternoon. ‘We still have millions of people to vaccinate. She is going to be joined by the first lady and the second gentleman and cabinet secretaries along the way.’ 

Harris started on a Southern swing, visiting Greenville, South Carolina, and Atlanta last week.  

Vice President Kamala Harris, CEO of Walgreens Roz Brewer and Walgreens Health Supervisor Niki Pappos-Elledge greet a health worker during a tour at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination site at the YMCA of Greenville, S.C., on June 14

Vice President Kamala Harris, CEO of Walgreens Roz Brewer and Walgreens Health Supervisor Niki Pappos-Elledge greet a health worker during a tour at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination site at the YMCA of Greenville, S.C., on June 14

SPACE

Taking on the same role as the previous vice president, Mike Pence, Harris is chairing the National Space Council.  

 The announcement was made in early May.  

‘I think her approach to this is just going to be to get the job done, and use this to lead our space policy, and not really focus, perhaps as much on big displays,’ one official told ABC News on how Harris would differ in the job than Pence, who made for rocket launches.  

President Joe Biden announced during his first presidential address before Congress that Vice President Kamala Harris would be leading the effort to curb the digital divide

President Joe Biden announced during his first presidential address before Congress that Vice President Kamala Harris would be leading the effort to curb the digital divide 

BROADBAND 

On April 21, when Biden made his first Congressional address to a joint session, the president said Harris would also be leading the effort to curb the digital divide. 

Biden’s aim is to expand broadband access nationwide. 

‘It’s going to help our kids and business succeed in the 21st century economy,’ he said. ‘And I’m asking the vice president to lead this effort, if she would, because I know it will get done.’ 

Biden initially asked for $100 billion in his infrastructure plan to expand broadband. The most recent GOP counteroffer included $65 billion. 

PRO-UNION TASKFORCE 

Also in late April, Biden announced the formation of a pro-union taskforce that would look into ways to aid labor. 

The taskforce would be chaired by Harris.

It would take a ‘whole-of-government approach to empower workers,’ essentially looking into what laws could be used to help workers organize.  

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